The Black-and-Red will be hosting one of their initial rivals back when the MLS first started, the Columbus Crew have not lost to DC since 2012 at RFK. Both teams are coming into this match on high notes. Columbus beat the Union 4-1 last week while United traveled up to Vancouver and got a hard earned result in Fabian Espindola’s season debut.
Columbus wants to seize this opportunity as the top four teams in the Conference are all in action, when the night is over, the standings may look drastically different. The Crew have scored 12 goals this season with Kei Kamara being responsible for five of them, this is a team that has no issue putting shots on goal. They possess one of the most dangerous attacks in the league, averaging the most scoring chances per game with just over 12 a game. The Crew are in a very nice rhythm right now, back-to-back wins and a three goal win. They also do a very good job dictating the tempo by their ability to possess the ball, but Columbus has made it clear that they aren’t looking past the grizzled, veteran laden team in DC.
DC has been without their stellar starting net minder in Bill Hamid, it’ll be interesting to see who’ll be in net for them if he hasn’t returned and if that turns to a distinct advantage for the Crew. Like Columbus, the Black-and-Red are flying high at the moment as they haven’t lost a game in the past five outings. The return of Espindola has changed their attack, they finally get that player up front that possesses a true ‘forwards’ mentality. He’s going to take shots, he’ll make plays for others, but he’s there to put shots on goal. The defense has been spectacular, Boswell really keeping that back line in place. Birnbaum is still out and Kemp didn’t play last week, DC’s depth has definitely been on display this season. That backline will have to stay in sync tonight against one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
Keys to Victory
- Dictate the tempo, win the possession battle
- Attack. Can’t sit back and wait for the perfect chance as Columbus is a powerful attacking team
- Win possession and keep the ball out of their final third. Especially if it’s not Hamid in goal, don’t put that pressure on the keeper
- Shoot. If space is given, take shots. Have to score early and put Columbus on their heels.
- Finish. There have been a few games this season when DC had a lead and couldn’t finish the deal, resulting in draws